Now that we have the Tacoma and have begun planning longer trips as well as having a few near misses with deer we decided it was time for an aftermarket bumper. After seeing a couple of Tacomas with the ARB bumper at the Overland Expo East Patty decided that was what she wanted. After a little research we found that the ARB bumper is not just a pretty face but provides excellent protection from animal strikes, a winch mount, jacking points for a high lift jack, and mounting holes for additional lights.
After checking prices and availability we decided to purchase the ARB bumper as well as a Smittybilt 10,000 lb. winch from the 4WD store in Charlotte, NC. This was Patty’s first trip to 4WD and she was like a kid in a candy store. They have an incredible amount of gear and accessories and all of the staff are friendly and know their products. The back of store houses a shop that is always full of jeeps and trucks getting up fitted with suspensions, bumpers, racks, and lights. We pulled the Tacoma around back to the loading dock and was surprised at the sheer size of the bumper and packaging as they loaded it into the truck.
Once home I turned in my man card and pulled out the instructions which were very well illustrated. It was a bit unsettling that within 5 minutes and a couple of screws the Tacoma was down to head lights and radiator with a large pile of plastic parts laying on the floor. Meanwhile Patty had laid out all of the hardware which saved a lot of time. As I starting installing the new bumper mount I was pleased with how well everything fit. The only time I was the least bit nervous was when the time came to cut the original bumper. The instructions were very clear and the use of a seamstress tape measure made marking out easier than anticipated. When it came time to cut the bumper Patty had to go inside. She couldn’t bear to watch. My jig saw went through the plastic bumper like butter and in no time I had the trim back on the truck and the bumper mount ready to receive the new bumper.
Once we mounted the new winch to the bumper it was time to call my son in law to come over and help me lift the bumper/winch combo and place it on the truck. I took a few minutes to get the alignment just right and then we tightened everything down. Once finished with the installation we took a moment to stand back and admire the fruit of our labors. The new bumper really makes the truck look great and we have received numerous complements.